Notes on Manzano Mountain Cottontail
Here is a link to a PDF I wrote with new info on finding Manzano Mountain Cottontail. — Brian Keelan
Did you notice any physical characteristics that could leave no doubt other than elevation? Did you only seen them at night? I have seen range maps that show the Eastern could possibIy be in the area. In late June did an all day hike from 4th of July to the base of Mosca peak and back down the Albuquerque trail with no success.
Hi, Bud, I don’t know of any physical difference useful in the field. The chapmanii subspecies of Eastern Cottontail may reach this far west but it must be very scarce because IUCN does not show it in the state at all. In the Trans-Pecos it inhabits grasslands and does not get above 4700 feet so I don’t think it is possible in the Manzano Mountains.
I am really sorry to bring bad news, but according to the most recent study it’s not a valid species. Diersing & Wilson (2021) found it to be undistinguishable from S. holzneri, a recent split from S. floridanus (formerly its subspecies) that inhabits SW NM, SE AZ and NW Mexico. They also found Davis Mts. cottontail to be a subspecies of S. holzneri. That study looked only at morphology, not at molecular data, but molecular studies in Leporidae tend to complicate things rather than clarify them. Some other interesting stuff there, too: https://meridian.allenpress.com/pbsw/article-abstract/134/1/42/466535/Systematics-of-the-mountain-inhabiting-cottontails
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Thank you for this. I am moving back to New Mexico soon and will be looking for this species. !!